In the modern B2B world, companies are looking to automate business processes and simplify integration in order to communicate with partners, vendors and customers. By automating business processes companies can achieve faster turnaround on critical transactions and gain efficiency as well as get visibility into all stages of transaction fullfilment.
To be able to offer industry specific value propositions, companies tend to offer
- Automation of cross-functional business processes that support trading partners, customers and vendors
- Adherence to industry data standards and communication protocols
- Visibility into business processes
For instance, the logistics industry (3PL, Distribution or service providers) is always looking into streamlining business processes to ensure that the customer orders are processed, acknowledged, shipped, tracked and invoiced with minimal oversight.
To exchange data electronically between business trading partners, companies use the electronic data interchange (EDI). To exchange the information using EDI, different standards like ANSI X12 for North America or EDIFACT (primarily outside of US) are created by standards bodies. While EDI standards establish the structure of the document that will be used to exchange the information, trading partners, vendors and customers still need to agree on the specific information that needs to be transmitted and over which communication protocol (AS2 or HTTP, Ftp) the data will be exchanged. EDI is critical for data accuracy, faster delivery, and cost-savings and it does help on automating and improving the processes.
Microsoft BizTalk Server is a server product running mission critical business applications across multiple verticals for over 10 years and has been continuously updated over the years, yet has retained the core with backward compatibility. BizTalk server is widely adapted in some of the most demanding industries such as healthcare, banking, insurance, oil & gas, and supply chain. BizTalk Server includes the following native features and functionality that supports EDI implementation
- Interchange processing (validation, acknowledgements)
- Batch Processing (support multiple parties, outgoing batching)
- Trading partner agreements
- Trading partner management interface
- Status reporting user interface
- Design time tools
- Schema repository (X12, EDIFACT, HIPAA X12N 4010A XSD, EANCOM, and control schemas)
With the latest release of Microsoft BizTalk Server, updates to the industry standards are supported. For instance, BizTalk Server 2013 & 2013 R2 supports:
- X12 EDI Updates for 5040, 5050, 6020, 6030
- EDIFACT support for D06A, D06B, D07A, D07B, D08A, D08B, D09A, D09B, D10A, D10B
- HL7 – 2.51 message support added
- SWIFT – 2012 Message Pack
In summary, to overcome the challenges of integration and to start leveraging EDI for orchestrating and automating business processes across trading partners, vendors and customers, Microsoft BizTalk Server is the right integration software to bring value to the companies and help them streamline the process in a cost-effective way.
For more information or to talk to someone about implementing your EDI solutions using Microsoft BizTalk, visit SPR Consulting at www.spr.com.